Yamaha marked their 50th year of Grand Prix racing in unique style at the Assen Circuit, before the weekends action kicks off on Thursday, with a very special gathering of MotoGP riders both past and present. The event saw the launch of the YZR-M1 WGP50th Anniversary Edition livery which is going to be used by Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies at the Assen TT and Laguna Seca races.
The assembled media were treated, not only to the one-off red and white liveried YZR-M1s but also an exhibition of many of the iconic machines that have decorated Yamaha's racing history. Machines from the 1960s through to the present day will be on public display until the end of the Assen TT before moving on as part of a tour of Europe. Reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies were joined onstage by the satellite Yamaha Tech3 riders Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow. A touch of history was added by the first ever Yamaha World Champion Phil Read and the first non-Japanese rider to race with Yamaha, Cees Van Dongen.
Lorenzo said of the event, “It is very special to be here celebrating this event,I met Phil Read earlier this year and we talked about the many things that remain the same with Yamaha, and also the things that are very different! I'm very proud to ride with this livery and will try my hardest to deliver the result.”
Ben Spies added, “I love this new livery so much; I wish we could ride with it all year. This is now my third year with Yamaha but it feels like I've been in the family much longer, so many of my heroes from when I was a child were on Yamaha bikes so to be here now is an unreal feeling. I can't wait to run the livery at Laguna in front of my home crowd, it's going to be quite a show!”